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Battalion sports staff makes predictions for 2020 football season

Aggie+Football
Photo by Meredith Seaver
Aggie Football

Texas A&M is scheduled to kick off the 2020 football season against Vanderbilt at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday amid several recent injuries and opt-outs.
Here are season predictions from The Battalion’s sports staff for the Aggies:
Hannah Underwood, sports editor
@hannahbunderwoo
Prediction: 6-4
The Aggies headed into the offseason expecting to be national title contenders by December. That chance appears shot now. A&M has already been hit hard with injuries and opt-outs, especially on offense. In addition to losing tight ends Baylor Cupp and Blake Smith and wide receiver Camron Buckley to injury, the Aggies lost two of their most consistent weapons when senior wide receiver Jhamon Ausbon and junior linebacker Anthony Hines III chose to sit out this fall in order to prepare for the 2021 NFL draft. Add opt-outs from backup quarterback James Foster and cornerbacks Elijah Blades and Derrick Tucker, and you’ve got a depleted roster that will likely struggle throughout the conference-only schedule.
Jennifer Streeter, assistant sports editor
@JennyStreeter3
Prediction: 6-4
A&M football is in for an interesting year. The team has been unfortunately and expectedly affected by injuries and opt-outs. Backup quarterback James Foster and senior wide receiver Jhamon Ausbon have chosen to sit out, in addition to the numerous other players A&M has lost due to injury and other opt-outs. The conference-only schedule is tough, with Alabama being the second team the Aggies play this season followed by Florida. Vanderbilt, Mississippi State, Arkansas, South Carolina and Ole Miss should all be fairly easy wins. Alabama, Florida, Tennessee, LSU and Auburn will be a bit more challenging. If they have good performances from the freshmen recruits and Kellen Mond, the Aggies could have a good year. However, it could easily go the other way.
Jordan Epp, sports writer
@j_epp22
Prediction: 7-3
The Aggies were one of the teams most affected by the change of schedule due to COVID-19. They were expected to have a favorable schedule out-of-conference, but their strength of schedule went up significantly when the SEC switched to all-conference play. A&M fans and players hope to gain momentum following a season where they won a bowl game against Oklahoma State, but similar to last season, the schedule might hold them back from making a push for a New Year’s Six bowl game.
Michael Horton, sports writer
@mhhort
Prediction: 6-4
Before the coronavirus uprooted the plans for the season, the Aggies had one of the most experienced rosters in the country and a relatively light schedule. Now that the SEC has moved to an all-conference, 10-game season, A&M’s championship aspirations look bleak. Jhamon Ausbon opting out and Baylor Cupp’s injury make that road even more difficult. Even so, the Aggies have plenty of winnable games. Vanderbilt, Ole Miss, Arkansas, South Carolina and Tennessee are Jimbo’s for the taking. The rest of the SEC West and Florida make me nervous, but if Kellen Mond makes the jump we’ve been waiting for, anything can happen.
Christi Koellner, sports writer
@KoellnerChristi
Prediction: 7-3
With an unusual season ahead of us and the multiple changes to the schedule, Aggie fans are just excited to have college football back. I am sure this season will have unexpected changes and endings. In the meantime, the games this season that will be a tossup are Florida, Tennessee and Auburn. Hosting Tennessee at home could go in A&M’s favor. In the end, I feel we have a chance of losing to Alabama, Auburn and Florida. LSU being a home game will be one to watch as they lost quarterback Joe Burrow, and last time they were at Kyle Field A&M won 74-72 after seven overtimes. Teams that the Aggies have a good chance of winning against are Vanderbilt, Mississippi State, Arkansas, South Carolina and Ole Miss. But as stated before, this will be a season like no other, so expect the unexpected.
Emily Wedemeyer, sports writer
@emilynwed
Prediction: 7-3
A&M fans have high hopes and expectations of the Aggies, as this will be their third year under head coach Jimbo Fisher. The physicality that the team will endure as they face an SEC opponent each week will require exceptional discipline and mental toughness. Even with an experienced quarterback and offensive line, the success of the offense will be heavily determined by the young wide receivers’ ability to make big plays. Whether stadiums with a limited capacity of fans are able to offer a home-field advantage will be interesting as A&M hosts LSU, the reigning national champions, and Florida at Kyle Field.
Casey Stavenhagen, sports writer
@CStavenhagen
Prediction: 5-5
Jimbo Fisher’s past two years at A&M have seen lofty preseason AP predictions with underwhelming results, and this year will be no different. Missing out on two notably talented receiving options in Jhamon Ausbon and Baylor Cupp, combined with a strong SEC-only schedule, a serious leap in Kellen Mond’s performance will be necessary for a winning season. Tack on some more opt-outs from members of the secondary that leave A&M’s defense weakened, and the Aggies will struggle to take a game from any of their ranked opponents.

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